This weekend I had a mission: find a Realtor to help me move house when the time comes in April. This was to be no mean feat as, in spite of all of my talk, I have still not mastered Korean. Instead of doing what a reasonable person would do and asking a Korean friend for some help, I decided to wander through the area in which I want to live, walking into Realtors’ offices.
When I came up with this plan, I thought I was onto a sure winner. I mean how hard could it be? No I didn’t know the Korean word for Realtor, nor any other words one might need in the field of real estate, but how hard could it be?
My naiveté was once again blinding as I wandered around my desired dong (get your mind out of the gutters it means neighbourhood). After an hour of poor results I began to lose That is until I realised that the buildings with all the papers pasted to the windows, were in fact Realtors or 부동산 .
So, biting the bullet, I found myself walking through a door into a small office. Inside I found two women, smartly dressed, typing away at their desks. Immediately, they stand up and come to the door to welcome me in with a warm “안녕하세요”. “Ehrmm… Do you speak English?” I ventured. Perhaps a tad hopeful. My answer was not as I had hoped however. “No… but body language” the older of the pair declared with a suggestive wiggle of her hips.
Thus began one of the longest hours of my life, in which I was shown to two separate flats in the The Realtor was so kind and understanding of the language barrier, and yet I was awkward and stuffy. My mind racing over all the things I needed to ask, and how foolish I had been to think I could do this alone. After the second apartment, about two liters of sweat down my back, and some awkward negotiations through Translate, the kindly Realtor and I called it a day and went our separate ways.
With only one month left until the big move, I am beginning to feel the stress of the impending deadline. Now I know how Mario felt with the ever-advancing screen as he killed koopas and gobbled up mushrooms. Luckily, I did find a Realtor who spoke English after lunch, however, I was informed that I’m too early to find anywhere for April and so shall have to wait until the end of the month.
I’ll be honest and say that this came as rather a shock to the system because back home if I didn’t have a place by now, I wouldn’t be getting one. The pace of life is definitely different here that’s for certain! If you too are looking for a new place in Korea, I strongly advise you to find a willing Korean to help you or an English-speaking Realtor recommended by a friend. Or better yet, learn Korean and solve the problem before it arises.